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What Are the Health Benefits of Cucumbers?
The cucumber happens to be a very versatile fruit that has many health benefits for the human body. Having the scientific name of Cucumis sativus, the cucumber is said to be native to India. Cultivated in Western Asia for 3,000 years cucumbers moved from India to Greece and Italy where they would be met with high praise by the Romans, after which cucumbers took off in popularity in China.
There are records of cucumber cultivation in 9th Century France, 14th Century England, and then mid-16th Century North America. The Spaniards would introduce the island country of Haiti to cucumbers in 1494, and then through the 1500’s cucumbers became key bartering tools for European traders and explorers for Native American agriculture products.
Cucumbers Fight Cancer
Cucumbers effectively fight off cancer. Through scientific research it has been found that Frondanol-A5P, a polar extract of cucumber, inhibited proliferation and induced G2/M phase cell cycle arrest in human pancreatic cancer cells. Recent discoveries show a strong STAT3 (Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcriptions-3) inhibitor in cucurbitacin, which blocks pathways for the development of cancer cells. There is a synergistic effect of cucurbitacins with known chemotherapeutic agents like doxorrubicin and gemcitabine.
Cucumbers Contain Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Consuming cucumbers can repair both internal and external tissue damage. Fucoidan from cucumbers can increase glucose translocation in skeletal muscle tissues. The results of a study indicated that there was a decrease in body weight and glucose levels due to the application of Isostichopus badionotus (Ib-FUC). Results also showed an increased insulin sensitivity and an inhibition of serum lipid concentrations.
People who have coronary artery disease will be pleased to know that eating cucumbers will help treat their condition. Results of another study show that H. forskali and P. tremulus extracts, which are found in cucumbers, are compounds that contain both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is suggested that cucumber extracts can be used for the prevention of endothelial cells and Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue inflammation.
Cucumbers Contain Antioxidant Properties
Cucumber seedlings were tested to analyze just how powerful their antioxidant properties were. The seedlings were exposed to high root-zone temperature (HT) with or without glutathione treatment for 4 days, and then following the 4 days of recovery, the effects of the HT significantly increased soluble protein content as well as proline and malondialdehyde content. Gene expression and the activities of antioxidant enzymes were also increased.
Another study involved exogenous melatonin being applied into seeds during osmopriming and the modification of antioxidant defenses in cucumber seeds. Results of this study were very positive as high and effective glutathione pool restoration in the seeds that were pre-treated with melatonin. The extract of cucumbers has free radical scavenging effects, which contain a maximum antioxidant effect at 500 millileters.
Cucumbers Promote Heart Health
Vitamin K is one important part of having good heart health. Vitamin K is essential for oreventing blood clotting. 4 of the 13 proteins that are needed to treat blood clots are covered by Vitamin K alone, according to University of Harvard. Eating a serving of lettuce, or a green leafy vegetable or fruit a day goes a long way in preventing hip fractures. The key components of cucumbers in promoting heart health are Vitamin K (8.5 micrograms or 19% of daily value) and potassium (76.4 milligrams or 4%).
Documented in the Archives of Internal Medicine, in one study those who consumed 4,069 milligrams of potassium each day lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease and ischemic heart disease by 37% and 49% respectively.
Hydration: A Key Health Benefit of Cucumbers
Cucumbers rank high along with watermelons as a prime source of hydrating foods. Cucumbers hydrate and oxygenate the human body, and this is because a single cucumber contains 96% water content. Hydrating foods help reduce wrinkles in the skin, and after intense exercises are performed, drinking water that contains some pieces of cucumber will accelerate a person’s hydration process.
Cucumbers are often the first tool that people use when making a facial mask. The hydrating effects of cucumbers can penetrate the skin and body without a cucumber being consumed. Cucumbers protect the body from dryness, itching, peeling or cracking. The cucumber is a flexible item for products like toners, aloes and gels, and it effectively removes excess oil and dirt.
Cucumbers Promote Brain Health
There is one little hint that points to cucumbers helping your brain maintain its strength. Cucumbers contain a trace mineral called molybdenum, a vital component of many enzyme functions in the human body. Consuming molybdenum will lead to better motor control and memory retention. A rare metabolic disorder has been found in some infants, which would be Molybdenum Cofactor Deficiency (MoCD). Allowing infants to consume cucumbers as part of milk formulas would be a great way to combat this disorder.
Another study reaffirms the role that oxidative damage has toward PC12 cells induced by H2O2. These negative effects can easily be reduced by adequate cucumber consumption. This study suggests that cucumbers could improve the survival rate of injured brain cells, meaning that cucumbers can serve as a functional food.
Cucumbers Can Treat Osteoporosis
The most alkaline fruits and vegetables are needed in a diet when one is suffering from considerable bone loss. Optimum pH levels for the human body must be around 7.35, and compared to the pH content of coffee and soda, fruits and vegetables have much higher pH content with 9 and 10 respectively. Consuming a cucumber balances the body’s blood sugar levels. Cucumbers also contain silicon, which is helpful for the body’s skin, and contains magnesium (6.8 milligrams or 2% daily value).
It is suggested that an acid-based diet causes osteoporosis while an alkaline-based diet reverses the effects of osteoporosis. It is also suggested that the skin of cucumber not get discarded because that contains a great amount of silicon.
Cucumis sativus is used as one traditional Chinese treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, so in theory cucumber should be helpful for general bone deteriorating conditions. This theory was tested in a study, and results showed that cucumbers enhanced osteoblast proliferation and increased phosphatase activity, bone morphogenetic protein and osteopontin. After suffering a bone fracture results indicate that cucumber consumption helps accelerate mineralization and osteogenesis.